In Luke 9:2, Jesus sent His disciples to “preach the kingdom of God.” In other verses of the Bible, we find that He sends us to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13, 14). We often read these verses and toss them aside simply because we don’t know how to put these commands into practice. However, Hope for Humanity has come up with an initiative to help us become that ray of light in our communities. Here’s how it works:
The principle of the “Be the Mission” prayer and blessing initiative is to be blessed as you bless. Businesses in America and around the world are hurting because of the economic downturn. Ideally, your church wants to help its community by affirming local businesses for their importance to the community. To begin, your church can agree to pray for local businesses and their owners. Start by hosting a Commitment Service so that the church family as a whole can pray for and support those who are making contacts in the community in their name. Church members can also be encouraged to make use of their local businesses.
After the commitment and prayers, a group of willing participants from your church or group gets together to discuss possible places they can contact and also to create a visitation schedule that works for everyone. This group, whom we refer to as the ambassadors, gathers and commits to visit local businesses. In these visits, church members express their concern for the businesses in these tough economic times and let the owners know that the church is praying for their specific business. Additionally, members request permission to pray with business owners and include any personal prayer requests that they may have. These visits should be kept short—10 minutes at the most—because they are taking place during business hours. Sample instructions and scripts are provided in “initiative kits,” along with “blessing cards” to leave as a reminder. Along with prayer, the group tells store personnel where the church is located. Many times we pass by landmarks without realizing what they are; perhaps these business owners had never noticed the Seventh-day Adventist church, even one that has been in the same spot for years. Now, however, they have something to connect them to your particular church. They may tell their friends, “Oh, the Seventh-day Adventist Church on Lakeland Avenue? Yeah, a few people from there came to my business to pray with me, and they pray for me and my business weekly.” What a great way to make a subtle but huge impact!
The aim of this initiative is to develop friendships through these visits with those working in the business community. As the initiative progresses, we encourage church members to invite business friends to a Service of Recognition at the church (a service can be held at least once a year). In this way, our churches can become a true blessing in our communities, and we can invite others to share in the blessing that the Lord has for all who desire it.
You want to be blessed in your own life, and this blessing happens as you bless others. In the very act of blessing, you yourself are blessed. That’s how it works! Tell yourself this truth: “Live to bless others and you will be blessed.”1
1 Ellen G. White, Youth’s Instructor, Jan. 1, 1871.
Kati Britton works as a communication assistant with Hope for Humanity in the North American Division.